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37

helped some. It was then that he noticed the faint perfume.
The odour came, he discovered, from the second pillow. Mr.
Christian's daughter must have lain down to rest on his bed
while she waited for her father. He wondered if she had
taken off her skirt and shirtwaist before she lay down. She
had been wearing a linen skirt, a blue linen skirt, he remem-
bered, and linen wrinkled easily. She must have taken it off,
for when she had entered the door of the room at Wilson's
restaurant behind her father, her clothes had looked perfectly
fresh and unwrinkled. That had made Mr. Christian late.
He had said she had to primp. She had had to dress, for
she had probably gone to sleep. She had pulled down the
shade in the room, cutting out the sunlight, and had taken
off her skirt and shirtwaist and had lain down on his bed.
She had left that odour on his pillow. ^

He got up and went to the window. He could look over
the roofs of the two-story buildings across the street. The
white moonlight falling on those roofs gave them a clean
and frosty and lonely look that was somehow comforting to
him. Below him, he could see the people still on the street,
not a crowd exactly, but a big number for the time of night.
They stood on the curb under the arc lamps or wandered
idly up and down, even in the middle of the street. Those
who were singing were now just south of the hotel in a ragged
group of some thirty or forty. Drunk, he thought They
had come here for a serious purpose, to save themselves, to
assure their future, and here they were, drunk and roaming
the street at midnight, His disgust mounted, disgust not
only for them but for himself, for what he had said that
afternoon and for the pure poise and exaltation he had felt
as his words came. He had been drunk, too, drunk in a
different way, but drunk. He felt cheated and betrayed.

For a long time, possessed by that feeling, he watched
them in their idle and aimless movements. He thought how
small and irrelevant they seemed even at the distance of
three stories below him. The singers moved farther off, and
some of the people left began to walk away, more firmly now,